How to become a cycle-friendly employer

Two people are cycling on a dedicated cycle path alongside a pedestrian path. One is on a mountain bike, the other on a hybrid with a wicker basket on the front. They are both wearing normal clothes.
Support employees to cycle to work for a happier, healthier workforce
Becoming a cycle-friendly employer is a great way for a business to be recognised for improving and encouraging the health and wellbeing of its staff. Cherry Allan explains the benefits and what to do

Encouraging cycling helps tackle the business costs of congestion, reduces an organisation’s impact on the local and wider environment and even attracts some tax incentives. What’s more, staff absenteeism will drop.

Current commuting patterns cost businesses time and money. Staff are delayed because of traffic jams, while company car parking spaces are in short supply and mileage costs are rising.

Cycling, however, is often faster than driving – particularly over short distances and when the roads are busy. It’s easier for cyclists to bypass traffic jams. They also need much less space to park once they arrive at work.

Encouraging employees to cycle to work and for business can result in a happier, healthier, more productive workforce, too. Cyclists tend to take fewer days off sick and save a company money.

There are a number of ways in which an employer can become cycle friendly:

Cycling provides a wealth of benefits and the Environment Agency encourages active travel into all of our offices and depots

Alexis Massey, sustainability manager, Environment Agency, Cycle Friendly Employer

Hold a workplace challenge

Workplace challenges provide an engaging and successful way of promoting and encouraging cycling at your workplace. A bit of friendly competition can be great for staff morale and encouraging people to ride more.

Some ideas might include:

  • Organisations competing against each other to see who can get most people cycle commuting
  • Taking part in events such as Bike Week or Cycle to Work Day
  • Creating a leader board for various cycling-related activities, such as number of kilometres ridden in a month
  • Entering a team in a charity ride
A group of people is standing outside an office building. They are holding bikes and are wearing smart office clothing. They all have one arm in the air as if to celebrate something
Taking part in a workplace challenge is good for team building

Tax incentives

Employees who use their own vehicle – be that bike, motorbike or car – for work can claim mileage allowance. This is currently 20p per mile for staff using their own cycles while on business; that is travelling between sites or to meetings, not just getting to and from work.

As cyclists don’t have to pay for petrol, their mileage costs are substantially lower than driving, at 45p per mile. This makes cycling a real, cost-efficient alternative, particularly over short distances, or in conjunction with travel by public transport for longer journeys.

The loan of cycles and safety equipment such as helmets, reflective clothing, child seats and so on to employees is exempt from tax on employment income.

The Cycle to Work scheme allows employees to buy cycles and safety equipment for commuting purposes, via their employer. It works as a salary sacrifice scheme so employees pay less income tax and national insurance, with employers also saving on national insurance contributions.

Our guide to tax incentives goes into more detail.

Introducing a green travel plan

If you’re looking for some practical measures on how to encourage more people to cycle to work and ride to business meetings check out the Essential guide to travel planning from the Department for Transport.

You can also share Cycling UK’s route planner with your staff so they can find the best route into work.

We have plenty more helpful information and advice on cycling to work.

A bike for your workplace

A fleet of cycles, along with equipment such as helmets, puncture repair kits and a pump, allowing employees to book out a machine for any kind of journey, is a good way of building up a cycling culture at a workplace. It offers staff an efficient, cost-effective and convenient transport option, especially for local meetings, travel between sites or lunchtime errands.

Strict health and safety requirements do apply to the provision of pool bikes. Cycle training for staff, insurance and liability issues are discussed in Cycling UK’s guide to pool bikes.

Two people are cycling along a green segregated cycle path with a pavement to one side and a road to the other. One is on a folding bike, the other a hybrid. They are wearing normal clothes. It's raining, but they're smiling
Good shower facilities will be appreciated in wet weather!

Showers, lockers and drying facilities

Showers with good changing facilities help make people much happier about cycling to work, especially during the summer. Many workplaces already offer showering facilities for their workforce in general, and they also benefit people who jog, go to the gym or exercise during their lunch breaks.

Lockers are useful for storing cycling clothes during the day; in winter, having somewhere to dry them out after a rainy trip really helps. This facility may be nothing more complex than a dedicated cupboard, with hanging rails and an efficient dehumidifier.

Starting a cycling group at work

Supporting a cycling group at work can really help motivate employees who share an interest in cycling.

In a large organisation, a group might meet regularly to discuss cycling; in a smaller workforce, an email list or dedicated noticeboard might suffice.

Some groups have aims, such as making the workplace more cycle friendly; others are primarily for socialising or company on the ride home.

Take a look at our useful guide to setting up a cycling group at work.

One of the big benefits of going through the process of the accreditation is that it opens your eyes to all the extra things you could do to really encourage people to cycle

Tom Bowtell, CEO, British Coatings Federation, Cycle Friendly Employer

Cycle parking

Secure and convenient cycle parking at workplaces makes all the difference – and accommodating several cycles is much less costly than providing space for just one car.

Ideally, cycle parking should be near the premises, easy to reach, covered, secure, well lit and well designed. If there is nowhere outside to build a shelter, there may be somewhere indoors that could be converted into lockable bike storage. Wall hooks are good space-savers inside or outside, but keep in mind that not everyone will be able to lift their cycle onto hooks.

More information is available in our guide on how to install cycle parking at your workplace.

A man is wheeling his bike into a large blue bike shed with lots of other bikes already in there
Keep employees’ cycles safe with good bike parking facilities

Becoming a Cycle Friendly Employer

Being accredited as a Cycle Friendly Employer is a great accolade. It demonstrates your commitment to your staff’s health and wellbeing, your consideration of your carbon footprint and makes you more attractive to new employees. Younger workers, especially, are interested in being able to cycle to work and see this as a benefit.


Become a cycle friendly employer


Safety matters

Some employers are reluctant to promote cycling actively because they – or more probably their health and safety advisers – are worried about liability issues.

Firstly and most importantly, cycling is not an unduly risky activity – read more in Road Safety and Cycling.

Secondly, Cycling UK argues that it is not the employer who’s putting people at the risk by promoting cycling; instead, the threat comes from hostile road conditions – bad driving, poor infrastructure and so on.

In fact, by encouraging cycling rather than driving, employers are making road conditions safer because cyclists do very little harm to other road users.

Become a Cycle Friendly Employer

There are many benefits to becoming an accredited Cycle Friendly Employer, the benchmark for workplace cycling. As an official CFE, you’ll be able to access tools and resources to engage staff, promote cycling and showcase your achievement.

Sign up now